Three tickets entered the Georgetown University Student Association election early Thursday morning, marking the start of a two-weeklong campaign.
Garet Williams (COL ’18) and Habon Ali (SFS ’18), Kamar Mack (COL ’19) and Jessica Andino (COL ’18) and John Matthews (COL ’18) and Nick Matz (COL ’18) have officially declared their candidacies, according to GUSA Election Commissioner Grady Willard (SFS ’18).
The campaigns for Williams and Ali and Mack and Andino posted banners in Red Square shortly after midnight. About 30 students from the Williams and Ali campaign entered Red Square from the Intercultural Center with their campaign poster, which read the slogan, “Time for you.”
Williams and Ali’s entry was followed about 15 minutes later by Mack and Andino, who were joined by about 30 students from the campaign. They hung their poster with the slogan, “A Fresh GUSA,” while playing the song “Bad and Boujee” by Migos.
The Matthews and Matz campaign did not launch in Red Square this evening. Further potential candidates have 72 hours to collect 100 signatures to be placed on the ballot.
Ali said the “Time for you” slogan is focused on making a more inclusive GUSA.
“It’s a GUSA with the people, and not for the people, because we don’t want to speak for the policies that these student organizations are working on, but work along with them,” Ali said.
Williams said the campaign is looking to include underrepresented populations who may have felt excluded from GUSA in the past.
“Coming into GUSA this year, one of the biggest issues is diversity and inclusion in GUSA, which is something that we’re really passionate about,” Williams said. “Both in terms of GUSA experience, people who haven’t been involved in GUSA, but also communities that have historically not been involved.”
Inclusivity of all students will also be a significant component of the campaign, according to Williams.
“Beyond issues of transparency, working to make sure that moving forward the university tackles issues of accessibility, issues of tuition, these are critical elements that affect a lot of students on this campus, no matter your socio-economic status, no matter your ability on campus and making sure that you can feel a part of the Hoya family the same way that everyone else can,” Williams said.
Mack said the campaign slogan aims to address a lack of diversity within GUSA.
“We recognize how important GUSA’s role is as a funnel to administration. Whenever the university is looking for student input, the first organization they generally reach out to is GUSA. So we want to make sure that GUSA represents students from diverse backgrounds,” Mack said. “We want to increase transparency in GUSA and use our slogan like a rallying call for a fresh GUSA.”
According to Andino, the campaign platform includes a focus on campus affordability and student health.
“It’s something that we strongly believe that students should have physical and mental resources here on campus and we don’t want there to be any cost barriers or social stigma against that,” Andino said. “It’s an issue that I’ve really grown passionate about in my three years here.”
Mack said helping grow a culture of entrepreneurship at Georgetown is one of the three main focus points of his campaign.
“There’s a lot we want to do for entrepreneurship on campus, making it easier for students who want to start up a company or a nonprofit. We want to make it easier for them to pursue those endeavors while on campus,” Mack said. “That ranges from making sure there is well-advertised work space, centralizing information about funding sources, things like that.”
Andino said the campaign slogan “A Fresh GUSA” was inspired by the time both she and Mack have spent in GUSA previously and their desire to make the organization as effective as possible.
“We both are involved in GUSA, but we didn’t get involved our freshman year,” Andino said. “We think that there are things that can be improved in GUSA, like trying to get more student organization input in GUSA and try to connect them with student administrators. We want to change the way people perceive GUSA on campus.”
GUSA President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) and Vice President Chris Fisk (COL ’17) will not endorse any candidates in this year’s election, according to Fisk.
“We think it’s in the best interest of the student body to not have anyone influencing decisions here and having the candidates shine on their own merits by themselves,” Fisk said.
This year’s executive campaign includes two more tickets than last year’s single-ticket election by Khan and Fisk. Last year’s executive election was marked by a delay in the release of the election results after the election commission cited procedural issues with write-in candidates that questioned the election’s integrity.
Willard said he hopes the increased number of campaigns will make for a more interesting election season for students.
“I mean I think it means more monitoring, but of course we did have quite a lot of issues last year with the write-ins,” Willard said. “I think it’ll be nice to have a debate — real debates. Last year, Enushe and Chris just had kind of an intro session. This year we’ll be able to have debate. I’m hoping it can be constructive.”
The presidential and vice presidential debates will take place Feb. 15 and Feb. 20, respectively, before the election is held Feb. 23.
Hoya Staff Writer Joe Egler contributed reporting.
Correction: This article previously stated the Mack-Andino campaign slogan is “For a Fresh GUSA;” it is “A Fresh GUSA.”
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.